Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel
The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.
The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.
Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian.
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WNU Editor: Back channels are always established when new administrations are sworn in. Did the Obama administration have back channels with Russia .... most definitely. Does the Trump administration have back channels with Russia .... I can only say that I hope so. Should I be surprised that someone like Blackwater founder Erik Prince was trying to set one up in the Seychelles .... I would just say that because he is well known, he may probably be the wrong person to be involved.
Update: Someone has just told me that Erik Prince is denying this story.